Newsletter: Monthly Meet-up Tonight with Alex Baca, Ben Franklin Parkway Pedestrian Survey, New SEPTA Bus Map


Our July monthly meet-up is happening tonight at Craft Hall (901 N. Delaware Ave.) from 6-8 pm.

We're excited to welcome special guest Alex Baca, Housing Program Organizer for D.C.-based urbanist advocacy organization Greater Greater Washington

Alex has been an important voice, both in Washington and nationally, on housing, zoning, and land use issues that 5th Square works on locally, and we're looking forward to hearing more from her about the state of housing advocacy in the cities she's worked in, and some lessons for Philadelphia advocates as City Council considers a zoning reform package that threatens the hard-won progress urbanists made in 2011 toward realizing a more walkable, bikeable, and less car-dependent city.

This will be a casual social gathering, so if you've been meaning to check out one of our events or meetings but haven't made it out yet, this will be a good first one to come to. And please bring a friend or two!



The Parkway Council and Logan Square Neighbor's Association has a survey out asking users and neighbors of Benjamin Franklin Parkway for their input on the safety of its streets and sidewalks.  This very short survey will be communicated to City administration. The survey ends July 12th.  If you use the Parkway at all, please take some time to provide your input. 

Our biggest asks?  Make Ben Franklin Parkway easier and less dangerous to cross on foot, and give it a serious road diet in terms of the sheer number of lanes dedicated to vehicles.



Thank you to those who attended our meeting last week with Roy Gothie, Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator at PennDOT, about the Commonwealth's upcoming plan for increasing biking and walking and improving safety. The event, which was co-hosted by the Bicycle Coalition, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Rails to Trails Conservancy, and 5th Square, went really well! 





Thursday, July 11th, 5 - 6 pm
oTIS Spruce / Pine Bike Lanes Pop-Up Corner Meeting
City officials from oTIS will be presenting details for the proposed configuration of Spruce and Pine Sts in Center City, after repaving work is finished this summer. Notably, the bike lanes will be moved to the left-hand side of the street, and intersections will be semi-protected with delineator posts, green paint, and no turning/mixing lanes (except at Broad). Please stop by and give your input!

Thursday, July 11th, 6 - 8 pm
*** 5th Square's July Monthly Meetup ***
At our July meet-up, in Craft Hall, we're excited to welcome special guest Alex Baca, Housing Program Organizer for D.C.-based urbanist advocacy organization Greater Greater Washington. This will be a casual social gathering, so if you've been meaning to check out one of our events or meetings but haven't made it out yet, this will be a good first one to come to.


SEPTA took a major step forward to improve bus information for riders with the release of a new frequent service map (pictured above.) 5th Square applauds SEPTA for this move, which is a crucial piece of the upcoming comprehensive bus network redesign. Jason Laughlin has more details: "On new maps, thick lines with a reddish hue indicate routes that provide service at least every 15 minutes during much of the day, five days a week, called 15 max routes. Routes that provide service no less than every 30 minutes are colored teal, or 30 max, and those with hourly service are gray and called 60 max. The same colors are being used on SEPTA’s printed schedules. SEPTA also is experimenting with a new type of schedule that provides information about a corridor served by multiple routes rather than those routes individually."

At the same time, SEPTA leadership is also unfortunately still resisting calls from the Kenney administration's transportation team, and from within their own ranks, to eliminate the $1 transfer penalty charged to riders transferring between different transit vehicles. Not only is the transfer penalty an unfair and inequitable fare policy that arbitrarily charges some riders more who don't live on a one-seat ride from work or school, but it also suppresses transit ridership—ridership that SEPTA badly needs to start winning back. One DVRPC study found that eliminating the transfer penalty could net SEPTA a 4% ridership increase in the short term, and an 11% ridership increase in the medium term. Sign our petition for free transfers to join our campaign calling on SEPTA to end the $1 transfer penalty when they revisit fares in spring of 2020.

Philadelphia may see dock-less bike rentals as soon as this fall.  PlanPhilly reports on the Philly's progress along this front, bringing a whole new type of mobility to our city.

How much is car congestion hurting our city?  A recent report calculated this cost for Philly and it's not small -- estimating the penalty at $152 million a year in time value and transportation costs, the equivalent of a $260 tax for every person in the city.

Additionally, auto pollution affects certain sections of our city more than others, with another study detailing the census tracts most affected in Old City, Northern Liberties, Callowhill, and Chinatown — all areas adjacent to the Vine Street Expressway.  Additionally, Latino, Asian American, and African American residents are disproportionately exposed to dangerous air pollution. This underscores the importance of our work towards cleaner transportation, especially in our urban core.



What's holding up the project to cap a section of I-95 with a park that would connect Old City with the Delaware River? The Inquirer checks on the progress.

Councilperson Mark Squilla's latest attempt to create a more clean and sustainable city through a recently-proposed bill to ban Philadelphia stores from using plastic bags was thwarted by PA State GOP Lawmakers. State House Republicans added an amendment to the budget that prohibits state and local governments from passing new regulations on plastic bags for one year. Our dependence on plastic bags in Philly litters our streets, pollutes our waste stream and contaminates our recycling.  Supporting a ban on plastic bags has been one of our core issues for years, and it is especially frustrating to see attempts to improve our livable space perennially derailed.



On the housing front, there is promising news that Philly's new affordable housing policy may be working.  The Inclusionary Zoning bill allow developers to build denser and taller residential projects if they include affordable units on-site or contribute money to the Housing Trust Fund.  Applications for this bonus in the first six months have already met the annual target of $3.6 million.

A petition is out to try and save Hoa Binh Plaza on 16th and Washington Ave, advocating for continued commercial use of this space.  Currently, this traditionally Vietnamese plaza's existence is threatened with a proposed zoning change from commercial to residential and plans for construction of 22 single family homes, each with a garage underneath, and 22 condos in duplexes and multi-family buildings. We support the goals of the petition to retain Washington Avenue's commercial identity and keep the original small businesses on the site.


Volunteer with your friends & family at Philly Free Streets!  Philly Free Streets will be back on North Broad Street on Saturday, August 3 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from City Hall to Butler Street and Germantown Ave. Each year, volunteers have helped make Philly Free Streets possible! 2019 will be no different! Sign up for a shift today with your family & friends. Volunteers can be 14+

Affordable Housing RFPs 2019 - The Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has issued two Requests for Proposals. One is to preserve existing affordable multi-family rental developments. The other is to support new affordable rental housing. The attachments and exhibits apply to both RFPs.


Fairmount Park Conservancy is seeking an Executive Director

Character Lab is looking for a Research Partnerships Manager.

Witty Gritty​ is seeking an ​Events Support Coordinator

The GREEN Program Public Benefit Corporation is seeking a Sales Representative

JMT is seeking a full-time Architectural Historian to assist in their growing Cultural Resource practice.

JLL, a professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management, is seeking a Research Analyst.

The Energy Foundation is seeking a Pennsylvania State Director

Campus Philly seeks a content marketing manager, research manager, and events manager.

The Office of City Councilmember Helen Gym seeks a Community Liaison.

NV5 is seeking a mid-level engineer (4-8 years experience) and a project manager (8-12 years experience).

Fairmount Park Conservancy is currently seeking seasonal employees to support public programming, activates and amenities at the Oval+.

The City of Philadelphia is seeking a Manager for GovLabPHL

The William Penn Foundation is now hiring a Program Associate for the Creative Communities program.

Verified Voting (, a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to strengthen democracy for all voters by promoting the responsible use of technology in elections, is seeking a communications officer.

The West Philly Tool Library (WPTL), a nonprofit community tool lending library, is seeking a paid Tool Librarian

The City of Philadelphia is seeking a Coalition Organizer for Philly Counts 2020

Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT) is seeking a program manager for an increasing number of large capital construction programs in the Philadelphia region.

5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee.
 We're an all-volunteer grassroots organization advocating for safe and affordable transportation, abundant housing, and more and better public spaces. You’re receiving this email if you signed up via our website, attended one of our events, or supported one of our advocacy campaigns. Support our advocacy with a recurring monthly contribution of $5.